A Normal Heart

By Norman J. Fulkerson

It is not uncommon during Fatima home visits to hear stories of Our Lady’s maternal intercession in her devotees’ lives. However, what Father Jack Caldwell of Louisville, Ky., told me during a recent visit was a true miracle.

As a child, Father Caldwell suffered frequent illnesses and when he was eight years old his mother took him to see the doctor. The young Caldwell was startled when he overheard the doctor tell his mother that her son would not live very long because of his enlarged heart.

Father Caldwell had wanted to be a priest for as long as he could remember, but this news frightened him so much that upon returning home he went straight to his mother’s bedroom and knelt before a statue of Our Lady. He then made an ambitious request, “Let me be ordained in fifteen years,” considering the seriousness of his health.

Our Lady seemed to intervene for him as he was able to complete his primary education, but in his third year of high school he became very ill. His heart was skipping beats and the medication did not seem to be doing any good.

After finishing college, his sister invited him on a trip to Lourdes, France. As Father Caldwell entered the miraculous bath he remembers saying, “Mary, if there is anything to this, some day I would like to have a normal heart.”

The following year a heart catheterization indicated his heart had a double beat and he was given three months to live. After undergoing surgery on the feast of the Epiphany, Father Caldwell was shocked when he later spoke with the doctor who performed the operation.

“I want you to know that I believe your situation was a miracle,” the doctor said, “because hearts do not normally correct themselves, but yours did. I have never seen this in any text or experienced it at all. No one has! That double beat strengthened your heart muscle rather than enlarging it.” The doctor then held out a clenched fist in the shape of a heart and said, “I want you to know that you now have a normal heart.”

From Crusade Magazine: July / August 2008

Header Image: Father Jack Caldwell beside the statue of Our Lady of Fatima at a home visit. Father Caldwell asked Our Lady at Lourdes, France, to cure his heart.